Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Recently, I saw an article titled "Do Dogs Love?". I didn't read it. Why waste my time? Why do dogs greet you at the door, tails wagging, eyes sparkling, even though you've just been gone a minute or two to pick up the mail? Why do dogs keep watch by your bedside when you are ill? Why do dogs solicit pats? Why do dogs look like their world has crashed if you scold them? If it's not love, then I really don't care. If that's not love, then, perhaps love is over-rated and what dogs are expressing is even better than love. I can hear someone say, "Yes, dogs can make you feel very good, but they really have no choice in the matter, they are just responding automatically." Those are the words of someone with little or very shallow experience of dogs. Yesterday, my friend, Marilyn, emailed me that she had adopted another dog. Of course I was happy for the dog. Any dog who lives in Marilyn's home is lucky. But this story is one of those that makes you wonder "Who adopted whom?" Marilyn is directly involved in profiling Greyhounds for adoptive homes. She frequently transports dogs to adopters. And in the sad event of "bounces"--dogs being returned to the rescue--will pick them up. She will keep them at her home for a day or two if there is no room at the kennel or transportation to the kennel is delayed. Sometimes a wonderful dog hits a streak of bad luck in placements. In these hard economic times, many dogs have had to be returned because people lose jobs, then lose their houses and have to move into living arrangements that cannot accommodate a Greyhound. Sometimes another pet in the household that initially seems welcoming of a new dog begins to take exception to the new arrival and the newbie is returned for its own safety. Over the past few years, the dog now known as Annie experienced a string of these bad luck scenarios. Each time, Marilyn picked her up and looked after her until there was room for her at the rescue kennel or Annie found a new home. But all that time, the bond between Annie and Marilyn grew. When Annie's most recent placement fell apart, Marilyn went to pick her up. Annie greeted Marilyn with enthusiasm, and bounded into her van just like it was "her" car. It was clear that Annie loved Marilyn and Marilyn responded the only way a true dog person does. She adopted Annie. So now Marilyn has four Greyhounds. But Hattie and Odie and Sophie are just fine with Annie. They recognize true love when they see it.